Airthreads Guide: The Anatomy of a Dress Shirt

We admit we love to geek out over the details of the shirts we sell here on Airthreads. Quality lies in attention to detail and we’re all about the details. If you’ve ever wondered what terms like placket, gusset, and so on mean, look no further. Here’s a comprehensive explanation of shirt terminology simply explained.

Collar Stand

The collar stand and the collar are two separate parts of a shirt that work together to create the shirt's neckline and provide a foundation for the shirt collar. A collar stand is the portion of a shirt that is sewn to the neckband and provides a foundation for the shirt collar. It is usually made of the same material as the rest of the shirt and is typically reinforced with fusible interlining to maintain its shape and stability. The collar stand provides the stability and support for the collar, while the collar itself is the part of the shirt that is visible when the shirt is worn.


A shirt collar is the part of a shirt that encircles the neck and frames the face. It is typically made of the same material as the rest of the shirt and is attached to the shirt's neckband. Common types of shirt collars include the semi-spread collar, the point collar, the button-down collar, and the band collar. The collar is an important factor in determining the fit of a shirt, as it should fit comfortably around the neck without being too tight or too loose.


A yoke is a piece of fabric that drapes over the shoulder. It helps make the front and back pieces of the fabric hang straight, while giving a good structure to the shoulder. 

There are several different types of shirt yokes, including the split yoke, the one-piece yoke, and the double yoke. The type of yoke used can affect the overall appearance and formality of the shirt, with a one-piece yoke being more casual and a double yoke being more formal. 


The cuff is the part of a shirt that covers the wrist and part of the hand. It is typically made of the same material as the rest of the shirt and is fastened with buttons or snaps. Dress shirt cuffs come in a variety of styles, including barrel cuffs, French cuffs, and button cuffs. The type of cuff chosen for a shirt can affect its overall appearance and formality, with French cuffs being more formal and button cuffs being more casual. Cuffs are an important factor in determining the fit of a shirt, as they should fit snugly around the wrist without being too tight or too loose.


A dress shirt placket is a strip of fabric on the front of a shirt that covers the buttons or snaps that are used to fasten the shirt. The placket can be simple or elaborate, and is often finished with a fold or seam to give the shirt a clean and finished appearance. It is an important design feature of a dress shirt, as it not only adds to the overall appearance of the shirt but also helps to secure the buttons and prevent them from coming undone.


Shirt interlining is a layer of material that is added between the outer fabric and the lining of a shirt to provide structure and support. It is often made of stiff, non-stretch materials like cotton, or polyester. It is usually sewn into the collar, cuffs, and front placket of a shirt to help them maintain their shape and prevent them from collapsing or wrinkling. Interlining can also improve the durability and longevity of a shirt by adding a layer of protection against wear and tear. The use of interlining is a common practice in high-end shirt making and can result in a shirt that looks crisp and professional even after multiple washings and wearings.


A shirt gusset is a triangular piece of fabric that is inserted into the side seams of a shirt near the bottom, to add extra room and comfort in the area where the body and arms meet. Gussets were originally used in medieval times to add strength to clothing and are still used today to add comfort and flexibility to shirts. The gusset allows for ease of movement and prevents the shirt from tearing or splitting when the wearer raises their arms or moves their body. In addition, the gusset can also help to maintain the shape of the shirt and prevent it from stretching out or becoming misshapen over time. The size and shape of the gusset can vary depending on the style and construction of the shirt.


Shirt darts are small, triangular tucks of fabric that are sewn into a shirt to create a better fit and shape around the body. Darts are typically found in the back of the shirt or in the bust area for women's shirts, and are used to create a more flattering and form-fitting silhouette. Darts are made by sewing a triangle of fabric into the shirt, with the point of the triangle being sewn to the shirt's fabric and the base of the triangle being left open. When the dart is stitched closed, it creates a tuck in the fabric that can be shaped to follow the contours of the body. The use of darts in shirt making allows for a more customized fit and can result in a shirt that is both comfortable and stylish.

Single Needle Stitching

Single needle uses a single thread and needle to sew seams, hems, and other areas of a shirt. This technique is considered to be a hallmark of quality in shirtmaking, as it results in a cleaner, more precise stitch that is less likely to fray or come undone over time.

Single needle stitching also creates a cleaner, more streamlined look to the shirt, as the stitches are typically small and unobtrusive, and the seam allowances are trimmed close to the stitch line to reduce bulk. In addition, single needle stitching is often performed using a lockstitch machine, which results in a more durable and secure stitch that can withstand repeated washings and wearings. Overall, single needle stitching is a sign of a well-made shirt and is favored by many who value high-quality construction and a clean, elegant appearance.